Weaver's Week 2002-11-09

Weaver's Week Index

9th November 2002

Iain Weaver reviews the latest happenings in UK Game Show Land.

With all that's been going on in the world, here's a summary of the events of the past ten days. The next ten days will be summarised when they've finished.


Match 9 aired October 28: Sheffield -v- Homerton Cambridge

Sheffield lost in the first round in 95, 98; the second in 99 and 2000, and lost a tie-break to Hull in 2001. Queen's Belfast, Fitzwilliam Cambridge and Wycliffe Hall Oxford have all been beaten by the steel city. It's Homerton's first appearance of the revival. Five of the eight contestants this week are from the English midlands. This must say something.

Sheffield was involved in the record low aggregate, their 100-150 defeat by Liverpool in 95. This week's looks like going the same way, with just two of the first twelve bonuses answered correctly. Sheffield has a slight lead at this point.

By the music round, Sheffield retains a slight edge, and with 145 points on the board, we might not break that unfortunate record. Given that no one knows anything about late 80s supergroup The Traveling Wilburrys, perhaps we will break that record.

A bonus on football fan websites allows Sheffield to retake the lead, held by Homerton for much of the third quarter. It's tight, and with 220 points in the bag, the all-time low isn't going to go.

Sheffield looks to have it wrapped up with a minute to play, but Homerton could come back. The answer "tantric sex" will never help them, and Sheffield goes on to win 180-125.

Hidden Student Indicator Of The Week: Homerton doesn't know where the British Library is. Neither do they know much about Keats or Shakespeare, in spite of having an English student for a captain. The other three are historians. This doesn't help when they get a set of bonuses on chemical reactions.

1936.27. Homerton knows the significance of this number - it helps them take the lead. [1]

Actor Or Composer? Thumper asks about a composer. Homerton replies with "Suchet," an actor. Or newscaster, depending on which brother.

He Doesn't Need To Speak: Thumper asks about the mountain range on the French - Swiss border, between the Rhine and the Rhone.

Serena Harborne, Sheffield: Pyrenees. Thumper rolls his eyes. [2]

Interruption Of The Week: The inverse of the Hubble Constant, with the dimensions...
Don Tait, Sheffield: The universe.

Tait is the top scorer, with 65. Tom Kitchen makes 49 for Homerton. Sheffield 15/33 bonuses, 1 missignal; Homerton 7/30, 2 missignals.

Match 10 aired November 4: Nottingham -v- Aberystwyth

Nottingham took *that* win over New Hall Cambridge in the 98 contest, then won squeakers against King's London and Jesus Cambridge before falling to Birkbeck London in the semis. Two years later, Cranfield and North London fell victim before the exit to runners-up Oriel Oxford in the quarters.

In that 2000 series, Aberystwyth accounted for Glasgow and a slightly more spectacular New Hall Cambridge team before falling to eventual champions Durham in the quarters.

Though Aber gets the first starter, it's Nottingham with a clear advantage by the first picture round. A set of bonuses on the term "rock 'n' roll" helps their cause, as does expansions of functions of x; a set on translations of the Bible completely stumps the side.

Nottingham doesn't quite pull away as strongly in the second period, but still has more than treble Aber's score after the music round. In discussing feminist literature, Aber allows the week's only female to enunciate "The Female Eunuch." This comes during something of a revival for the Welsh side, reducing the gap steadily during the third period.

By the second picture round, though, it's clear that Nottingham will win the show, and win big. Even a bout of "Guess The Coen Brothers Film, Or Just Say 'Fargo' Till It's Right" can't stop them. The final score, 225-105, shows the quality of this Nottingham team.

Hidden Student Indicator Of The Week (1): Nottingham thinks the Authorised Version of the Bible was completed in 1970. It was actually the Good News Bible at that time; the AV came out circa 1610.

Hidden Student Indicator Of The Week (2): Nottingham confuses the locations of the Conservative and Labour party

Someone *Really* Can't Do Maths: If a bacterial cell divides once every 30 minutes and all cells survive, starting from one cell, how many would there be after 10 divisions? That's 5 hours. [a decently long pause] Fadi Al-Mufti, Nottingham: 1,024 "No. Anyone from Aberystwyth?" Grant Brown, Aberystwyth: 512. "No. I can see the mechanism, but you're both wrong. It's 2,048, or 2^10." Except... it's not. One division, two cells. Two divisions, four cells. Three divisions, eight cells. Ten divisions, 2^10 cells, that's 1,024. This didn't affect the result, but I'm utterly amazed that UC's team of fact-checkers allowed such a massive error to slip through the net.

Richard Wheelhouse (69) was the leading scorer for Nottingham, with Andrew Wilson making 60. Tanya Kynaston's 46 led for Aber. Nottingham made 19/36 bonuses; Aber 6/24 with one missignal. Nottingham took 70 of a possible 80 on entertainment and sport; Aber 50/60 on chemistry and biology.

The Top 4 Losers Board hasn't changed in a fortnight:

180 York

165= Jesus Oxford
165= UMIST
165 = Brasenose Oxford

[1] The number of Italian lira to the Euro.

[2] Jura.


As you may have spotted by now, Angus Deayton has been fired as host of HAVE I GOT NEWS FOR YOU. The wearer of brown suits and red cheeks lost his job hosting the vague approximation to a news quiz after yet more unfavourable press coverage. Deayton hasn't actually been interviewed by Inspector Knacker and his team of researchers for NICKED!, never mind been given a recording date for the Game Show From Hell. According to the tabloids, Deayton's crimes against humanity include sleeping with a prostitute, and inhaling a well-known white Colombian export in powder form.

Candidates for Mike Channel's role include regular Smart Alec Stephen Fry, and former political editor John Sergeant. BREAKFAST's new presenter Dermot Murnaghan has also been linked with the job, while radio's David Aaronovitch would be an excellent choice. Panelist Paul Merton was Phil Inn last week, while Anne Robinson takes the helm this Friday. Other presenters will host for one week only.

The following day, Granada fired sometime Wheel of Fortune presenter John Leslie from its flop daytime show THIS MORNING. Tabloids had linked him with a crime in the past, but the alleged victim refused to confirm it was him, and Inspector Knacker's team of researchers have declined to interview Leslie. The only "offence" on Leslie's sheet was a claim by Granada that Leslie had failed to reply to their enquiries after the facts. At the time of his sacking, he had been charged with nothing, investigated over nothing, and said nothing.

Last Friday, Anthony McPartlan from Antan Dec, the Pushmipullyu of ITV's entertainment schedule, was convicted of speeding up the A1. McPartlan, old enough to know better, was clocked by Inspector Knacker's knackered researchers driving at 127mph (200kph) heading up the A1. McPartlan's employers have declined to sanction their host, saying that they knew he had a criminal record when they took him on, before dragging a copy of "Let's Get Ready To Rhumble" out of the bin and playing it down the phone to us. Our researcher is now consulting Inspector Knacker over allegations of unsafe work practices.

It seems that we have something of a case of double standards at play here. Last May, BBC bosses were grateful for the revelations surrounding Deayton's life - it helped HAVE I GOT NEWS FOR YOU beat the first show in the new series of BIG BROTHER in the ratings. They were happy to have the publicity when he broke with Stephanie de Sykes in the early 90s, when the show was just getting established. Now, Angus's mistress goes to the press, and instead of seeing it as a re-hashing of old ground, TV's Mr Sex is out the door. It's true that he had apparently lost the confidence of other regulars Merton and Hislop, yet is this not slightly odd of Merton, who took a series off while he was sorting his own life out.

Then we come to Leslie. He has been charged with nothing, and given the acres of adverse publicity in the past two weeks, he's never going to get a fair trial. Instead of the due judicial process, he's been charged, tried, and convicted in the court of public opinion, without any of the piffling little trifles that a full game of NICKED! requires. Like a calm, dispassionate examination of the facts. Like a chance to put his side of the story. Like some actual evidence.

Ian Hislop made a very valid point on HIGNFY the other week. "Is there nothing in the news other than Z-list celebs having sex?" Yes, there is, but you wouldn't see it from the press right now. Angus Deayton has not let off a bomb in a nightclub that killed 200. John Leslie is not responsible for a string of sex attacks in southern England. Ant didn't cause a massive pile-up on the A1. Those are the real news stories, not celebrity tattle.

Let us laugh with the best of the hosts, let us laugh *at* the worst of the hosts, and let us enjoy ourselves. We watch the shows called game to escape the stresses of the world, not to see them played out in our little sandpit.


In an unexpected move, Cat Deeley (FAME ACADEMY, SM:TV) and Edith Bowman (no game show experience yet) have left their weekly show on London's Capital Radio. Their replacements are Andi Peters (THE TRAVEL QUIZ, Ed The Duck's sidekick) and Kate Lawler (won BIG BROTHER 3).

Meanwhile, two sad losers from BB3 have been keeping a low profile. Lee (the bodybuilder) and Sophie (the posh replacement for Sunita) appeared on C4's flop breakfast show DU:FF on Monday, ostensibly to plug Lee's new fitness video. Before the segment ended, Lee proposed to Sophie, though we're not quite sure *what* he proposed, and whether it would be decent for anyone to see at that time of the morning. "Lee Shows How To Work Your Body" is available for £3.99 from all good remainder video stores.

And remaining at the most famous house in Elstree, CELEBRITY BIG BROTHER is almost upon us. Six celebrities (we don't yet know which) will enter Chateau Grand Frere on November 20 for ten days of fun, frolics, and frantic raising of careers. CBB will have the usual 20 hours on E4, and will replace the struggling RICHARD AND JUDY on eviction nights. Dermot's BBLB will air for half an hour on both C4 and E4, concluding on the digital extension only.


Programmes for the seven days commencing November 9.

Weekends on Challenge? take another slight revision this week. TREASURE HUNT airs at 0900, with GLADIATORS moving to 1100. At 1200 (and 1955), it's off to Japan and the surreally strange TAKESHI'S CASTLE. I've only seen this show dubbed into German, or with Chris Tarrant warbling over the action. YOU BET, SPORT ADDICTS, FORT BOYARD, WHO DARES WINS, 100%, WHEEL OF FORTUNE, DEFECTORS and BRUCE'S PRICE IS RIGHT are the other prime time shows.

Because of international rugby, there's no feeding the canines this week. THE CHAIR is occupied for the last time this series (and probably forever) at the slightly later time of 1850. Followed by the return of JET SET at 1940. MILLIONAIRE is also slightly later, at 2010.

BBC2's perpetually entertaining FAME SET AND MATCH reviews Saturday morning children's television. Including Noel Edmonds, Chris Tarrant, Keith Chegwin, and Timmy Mallet. That's at 2105, followed by HAVE I GOT WEAK LINKS FOR YOU.

Compare and contrast: FLOG IT, in which people sell off their possessions. BBC2 Sa 1815. EVERYTHING MUST GO, in which people sell off their possessions. ITV Mo 1400.

All this week, there's a CELEBRITY BARGAIN HUNT LIVE strand on BBC1. David Dickinson leads BBC-contracted celebs through a purchasing process, all to raise money for a good cause. 2030 Mo, 2000 Tu, 2030 We, 2000 Th.

For no adequately explored reason, Nicholas Parsons is on this week's BUZZCOCKS. 2100 Mo BBC2.

Tuesday's WEAKEST LINK features stars of US programmes, while Thursday's has television hosts including Jerry Springer and (er) Rupaul.

A new run of STUPID PUNTS? That'll be BBC Choice 2130 We. The original and best follows 2230 on E4.

Friday is CHILDREN IN NEED night, including the results of CBHL. There's no HAVE I GOT A NEW PRESENTER FOR YOU tonight, that's to follow. There is, however, a last-ditch attempt to revive the fortunes at Witanhurst Manor. With the prospect of the residents making their fortune from a recording contract receding faster than Dogsby's hairline, we'll see the surviving (is it eight or nine or seven or what?) however many contestants take on training for their new role in life. That's CLAIMS DIRECT ACADEMY, all over the BBC, all week.

Normal service, and an even worse pun, on November 16.

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